Author Topic: Skeptics guide book  (Read 1518 times)

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Offline Dileas

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Skeptics guide book
« on: September 27, 2018, 12:02:06 AM »
The SGU book arrived in my mailbox a few days ago and I'm REALLY looking forward to reading it.  However, I've noticed that the physical quality seems rather poor.  The lettering on the front and back cover looks as if it was printed with a printer that was low on ink, and all of the pages in the book are rippled in multiple spots, as if there was some kind of binding problem.  I'm curious if anyone else has received copies with these issues, or if this is just a one-off.

Offline seamas

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 01:07:25 PM »
I didn't have any of the problems you describe, but was slightly underwhelmed by the physical product. It does seem like the binding is not going to last very long.
I'm not particularly fond of the typesetting of the body text.

I'm only a couple dozen pages into it and not 100% sure what I am making of it. For me, it is mostly familiar ground as I have listened to each podcast at least once.
I bought a couple extra copies to give as gifts and had one person in mind to give a copy, but he (a late-life convert to conservatism and religion) probably won't find much to enjoy in it.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 03:34:06 PM »
I didn't have any of the problems you describe, but was slightly underwhelmed by the physical product. It does seem like the binding is not going to last very long.
I'm not particularly fond of the typesetting of the body text.

I'm only a couple dozen pages into it and not 100% sure what I am making of it. For me, it is mostly familiar ground as I have listened to each podcast at least once.
I bought a couple extra copies to give as gifts and had one person in mind to give a copy, but he (a late-life convert to conservatism and religion) probably won't find much to enjoy in it.

I haven't got my copy yet, but I read the parts you can preview on Amazon. And as a long-time reader of Steve's blog, I recognized much. Much of those parts, except the biographical stuff, are based on the blog, as Steve also stated somewhere. But this is understandable. This might be familiar territory for us, but it is not so for everyone.

Still, it is excellent to have a handy skeptical reference. And based on my experience with the book, I might recommend it to others (I won't recommend a book I have not yet read).
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline c60Unit

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 09:13:17 PM »
When I got my copy, I thought it was smudged, but it turns out the cover art includes the 'been around' look.  I can see that when I compare my copy to the web page graphics, the 'smudges' match.   Yeah, the binding is weak, but I expect the context to be strong.

<rant>
Believing in supporting my local brick and mortar bookseller, at the end of April I pre-ordered in person at my local Barnes & Nobel.  Then a few weeks later, the signed edition popped up, so I went back and asked that the order be changed.  The book arrived today and damn it, it is the regular edition.  The guy who 'changed' the order tried to change it to 'reserve a copy' for the signed book, something that will not work for a signed edition.  No flags went up; the system dealt with it by shipping a regular book. *sigh*

No signatures.  No chance at the "Golden Ticket".   No good deed goes unpunished. 
</rant>

Now, to get reading!

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 03:25:14 PM »
I'm two-thirds of the way through the book. It's....okay. It's basically a transcript of the show. I'm not really learning anything new from it, but then regular listeners or long-time skeptics aren't really the target audience. Often I find myself wishing for more detail on a subject. One chapter in particular I found lacking is Jay's on 9/11 conspiracies.   

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. But it really is a primer. It's an excellent book to give to family/friends to introduce them to skepticism.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 10:08:19 AM »
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. But it really is a primer. It's an excellent book to give to family/friends to introduce them to skepticism.

I think that's the point. It also works like a field-manual. You can take a quick look at concepts to refresh your memory.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 04:15:30 PM »
I'm two-thirds of the way through the book. It's....okay. It's basically a transcript of the show. I'm not really learning anything new from it, but then regular listeners or long-time skeptics aren't really the target audience. Often I find myself wishing for more detail on a subject. One chapter in particular I found lacking is Jay's on 9/11 conspiracies.   

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. But it really is a primer. It's an excellent book to give to family/friends to introduce them to skepticism.

Thanks for this. I’d been wondering how much original content it would have for someone who’s been listening to the show for years. I support them as a patron, but I won’t buy the book if it’s mostly just repeating what I’ve already heard.
Daniel
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Offline Sawyer

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 08:13:39 PM »
On page 162, Daryl Bem is written as "Daryl Dem".

Checkmate skeptics.  Psychic powers are real!

 :'(

Offline BAWRFRS

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2019, 09:58:08 AM »
Another erratum (potential):

p. 418 of US hardcover (chapter on exorcism), 3rd line from bottom, reads:

"This is what the world is like with some skeptical principles as a guide and caution."

perhaps should read:

"This is what the world is like without some skeptical principles as a guide and caution."

Otherwise, enjoying the book very much. A good reference that I'm glad to have on my shelf. I'm not the dullest knife in the drawer, but I do sometimes have trouble identifying certain types of logical fallacies in the name that logical fallacy segments. Some kinds are easy - ad hominems, for example. Others, there seems to be enough conceptual overlap (appeal to nature vs. naturalistic, e.g.) that it's only clear to me in retrospect which one applies (and then, it's like, "of course - why didn't I see that?"). I suppose with practice, I'd get better at picking it out before the reveal.

Am considering ordering a bunch to give away to friends/family who might need and appreciate it. There are those for whom such gifts can backfire (like my cousin the naturopath) much like if someone passed along to me a copy of their holy book or a link to their favorite conspiracy blog. But there are many others who are naturally skeptical towards some of the obviously fake (Bigfoot, alien abduction), but may not have the skeptical toolkit to discern the more subtle forms of nonsense (GMOs, false balance, p-hacking). For them, this book is gold.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.  - Bertrand Russell

Offline Bill K

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2019, 06:21:52 PM »
It's basically a transcript of the show. I'm not really learning anything new from it, but then regular listeners or long-time skeptics aren't really tharget audience.

Is that true? Certainly, a large percentage (maybe most I'd bet) of buyers are of the choir. I mean, we're the only ones hearing about it beyond us telling other people who I fear wouldn't want to read a science book anyway. I'm not trying to put down the book nor the endeavor. I'm so happy the rogues were finally able to write and have their own book published. A real accomplishment especially after listening since 2006. I am, however, a very cynical person and worry that despite good intentions, this book may not change minds but instead reinforce ours.

Anyhoo, I didn't buy the actual book itself but just purchased the audiobook. I cannot wait to listen!
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 06:24:05 PM by Bill K »
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Offline BAWRFRS

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2019, 01:48:41 PM »
It's basically a transcript of the show. I'm not really learning anything new from it, but then regular listeners or long-time skeptics aren't really tharget audience.

Is that true?

I don't feel that's the case at all. There's no interview, no Science or Fiction, obviously no current news items, etc. It's structured completely differently than the SGU podcast.

The comparison I'd make is with the "SGU 5x5" ... the book covers a wide range of topics, sometimes rather succinctly (like the 5x5, but with more topics). Other sections are more expansive (like logical fallacies). It's a great reference for a skeptic to have on the shelf.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.  - Bertrand Russell

Offline Bill K

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 01:59:29 PM »
I think you quoted the wrong person.  ;)
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2019, 01:52:57 PM »
It's basically a transcript of the show. I'm not really learning anything new from it, but then regular listeners or long-time skeptics aren't really tharget audience.

Is that true?

I don't feel that's the case at all. There's no interview, no Science or Fiction, obviously no current news items, etc. It's structured completely differently than the SGU podcast.

The comparison I'd make is with the "SGU 5x5" ... the book covers a wide range of topics, sometimes rather succinctly (like the 5x5, but with more topics). Other sections are more expansive (like logical fallacies). It's a great reference for a skeptic to have on the shelf.

Absolutely. The core concepts section, arguably the meat of the book, is a great refresher from time to time.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2019, 02:06:54 PM »
For some reason I read the title as, the skeptic's "guide book" as though it was some sort of travel guide for skeptics.


That being said, Its a decent reference or intro to skepticism.  There are others I prefer but some unfortunately are by Michael Schermer. 

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Skeptics guide book
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2019, 02:10:40 PM »
For some reason Shermer's writing style never grabbed me.

Also, Shermer's book is over 20 years old. It probably is a little out of date by now.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens